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Tips on Parenting and Homework June 10, 2007

Posted by edukfun in add, add parents, adhd, anger, aspergers, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention training, challenged, children, education, homework, ld, learning disability, parenting, parents, school, teacher.
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10 Steps to Argument-Free Homework

Get homework done quickly and efficiently without wearing out your vocal cords.

  1. De-escalate.
  2. Use positive reinforcement.
  3. Express interest in homework, schoolwork and grades.
  4. Treat homework time like it is a big deal.
  5. Do your homework visibly.
  6. Spend 15 minutes negotiating Homework Expectations.
  7. Write down and post the Homework Expectations.
  8. Give your child three free passes.
  9. Reward a Perfect Homework Record.
  10. Email the teachers!

What about kids with Learning Disabilities?

Challenged Children, those with any kind of learning disability, need the exact same treatment. They need all the rules, reminders and rewards even more! Don’t let their disability fool you: expect them to perform to their 100% capacity. If we settle for less, we do them a disservice.

-From www.whyschoolsux.com

Read the article here.

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Get the Biggest Advantage for Your Child June 4, 2007

Posted by edukfun in add, add parents, adhd, alternative treatment, aspergers, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention training, challenged, children, concentration, discipline, distractibility, education, homework, ld, learning disability, medication, parenting, parents, school, social skills, Sparks of Genius, standardized testing, teacher.
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Our nation has shifted its educational focus to standardized testing performance, for good or bad. One result is that parents, schools and districts are all looking for ways to play the system. If a school can massage the numbers just right, they get more funding. If parents can have their child diagnosed ADHD or with a Learning Disability, then the child can get extra time on the FCAT and SAT, which leads to a higher score and better college prospects. Plus, a little Ritalin or Adderall goes a long way. For anyone. Are your children getting lost in the shuffle? We hope to show you a trick or two to make sure that your kid has the best advantages, no matter what gimmicks are used by other parents and schools.

Are the children getting lost in the shuffle?
We hope to show you a trick or two to make sure that your kid has the best advantages, no matter what gimmicks are used by other parents and schools.

The NY Times ran an interesting feature highlighting the advantages in redshirting: keeping a child out of kindergarten until he or she is a little older, as much as a year.

Click here for the full article.

Tool #1: Train your child to think that he or she is the boss.

This may seem counterintuitive. After all, we often fight our kids to get them to do their homework. You want to transition your child’s current thinking from the perspective of “Educational Victim” to “Educational Entrepreneur”.

Educational
Victim Entrepreneur
Homework is an imposition Homework is a challenge/tool
Teachers are authority figures Teachers are like employees
I’m never going to use this in real life How can I use this in real life?
No dreams beyond play Big, earth-shaking dreams
High level of concern with appearing smart or cool High level of concern with overcoming challenges
Parents complain about school system Parents participate in school system

The institution of education, whether by accident or design, tends to create Educational Victims. In order to transition your child to thinking like an Educational Entrepreneur, requires adult-to-adult conversation. Your child doesn’t have the tools to change their own attitudes, so you must show them the way. Here’s how you do it.First, fix the “Stinking Thinking.” When you hear your child say things like, “I’m never going to use this in real life”, or “Miss Stinkyfoot is a rotten teacher” or “I hate homework”, take ten minutes and walk through this process. First, ask them exactly what is bothering them. Make them get specific. “He’s a jerk” doesn’t cut it. Once the complaint is out in the open, you must reframe it from the perspective of an Educational Entrepreneur. Here are some common translations.

Translate Stinking Thinking
Stinkin’ Thinkin’ iThoughts
Homework is boring Let’s turn it into a challenge: how much can you finish in 15 minutes (then take a fun break).
Mr. Soandso is mean to me Let’s find a way to make him a friend…just like we would as an adult with a mean employee
I’m never going to use this in real life Sometimes the content isn’t what is important, but mastering the PROCESS is. The best businesses have the best processes, not necessarily the best products.
The subject is boring. Tie the subject in to real life and show how it is important.
I’m bored/hate school. This student is stuck in victim mode. Reframe the school experience so that the child is the boss. Consider that the child may be overwhelmed and need some one-on-one help.
   

To be continued tomorrow.

-Allen Dobkin

Gimme a break! How to get kids to work more, waste less. May 31, 2007

Posted by edukfun in add, add parents, adhd, aspergers, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention training, challenged, children, concentration, discipline, education, exercise, fitness, focus, homework, ld, learning disability, parenting, parents, school, stress, teacher.
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ROWE, ROWE, ROWE your boat…at work but not at school. ROWE stands for Results Only Work Environment. Long story short: let people work how they want, when they want. Only measure the results. Performance and morale improve.

There workers can come in at four or leave at noon, or head for the movies in the middle of the day, or not even show up at all. It’s the work that matters, not the method. And, not incidentally, both output and job satisfaction have jumped wherever ROWE is tried.

Full article here.

How can we use Results-Only to get our kids to perform?

The bottom line for teachers and parents is that they need to get cooperation from 1-150 kids on tasks that, lets be honest, often aren’t interesting to them. If the child has ADD or a Learning Disability, the challenge is even greater.

Are our schools results oriented?

With few exceptions, in my opinion, No. This does vary from school to school and teacher to teacher, but overall I think that the atmosphere in America’s classrooms (big generalization here) is one in which students are evaluated on a mixed curriculum of education and discipline. In other words, the student’s grade is determined by both his or her mastery of the material and by how well he or she fits into the stereotypical pigeon-hole of a “good student”.

It is not enough for a student to learn the curriculum. He or she must also meet the teacher’s expectations of behavior and discipline or their grades will suffer. Which means that their collegiate futures are at risk. Which means their behavior in and around the classroom will in part determine their future.

Why is this bad? In my opinion, it is appropriate to evaluate behaviors, rule-following, conscientiousness and sociability. However, this evaluation needs to be made separate from an academic evaluation. Not merely out of fairness but because a student’s behavior does not reflect his or her mastery of the material. If the student has mastered the curriculum, and demonstrates that mastery on assessments, then his or her grade should reflect that mastery.

Further, teachers evaluate behavior based on their biased backgrounds. Students with different backgrounds are unfairly penalized. Since most teachers are middle-class, poor students suffer.

What do I mean? I mean that the student should not be penalized because he or she did not complete a non-assessment assignment (busy-work) or was disruptive in the classroom, or had a poor attendance record. Notice that each of these items are strongly correlated with poverty and a low socio-economic status. They also fit the profile of kids with Learning Disabilities.

In my opinion, when teachers mix assessment grades with behavior grades, they are doing these kids a major disservice. I am especially thinking of my LD students. These kids’ futures are already at risk. If they are graduating on a regular diploma, and most are, then they need every point they can get on their GPA. When I go into an Individualized Education Planning (IEP) meeting for a student, and I see that his assessment grades are A’s, B’s and C’s but his report card is full of C’s, D’s and F’s I conclude that the student’s needs are not being met. Isn’t it obvious? He can ace the exam, but has seven zeros for homework assignments…he’s learned the material. Even more, he did it without doing the homework. For him, the homework was really just busy work.

The goal of our schools should not be to pump out mass-produced cookie-cutter worker.

Corporate America is realizing that if you let good people make choices about how and when to work, everybody wins. Lets take that lesson home and into the classroom. Recognize that people have different learning styles and preferences and that the goal of our schools should not be to pump out mass-produced cookie-cutter workers.

Teachers: create multiple routes to success. Keep behavior and academic evaluations separate.

Parents: realize that your kid needs breaks. LD and ADD kids need LOTS of breaks. Split their homework session in two. Have a physical activity planned for in between.

One last quick story: a student of mine often comes in completely brain-fried. You know, that horrible feeling that you can’t even spell your own name right…for no reason! Once I realize we are up against the wall we go for a ten-minute walk and talk about video games. This lifts the mind-fog and learning can begin again.

Good luck!

Allen Dobkin